A. Gamble's Reviews > 1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina

1 Dead in Attic by Chris Rose
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Oct 23, 10

bookshelves: new-orleans
Read in October, 2010

I had an odd experience while reading this book. It happened between pages 229 and 237. Rose transitions from playing basketball at Wisner Park on the redone Sprite court in the middle of a mess to having his hair cut at a salon on Oak Street. For over two hundred pages, he'd been talking about my city, but all of a sudden, he stepped onto my home turf and it hit, well, home.

Growing up, my surrogate aunts, those saviors of my awkward adolescence, lived by Wisner Park, so when my boyfriend and I moved over to New Orleans, I chose an apartment around the corner from their old house. Over the fourteen months we lived in that apartment, I watched Wisner Park rebuild to better than it was before Katrina. They received a Kaboom! grant and redid the crumbling playground. Softball teams, as well as kid's baseball teams and adult kickball teams, played on the field. Neighbors let their dogs play when the field wasn't taken. People whose homes faced the park sat on their porches and watched the games and the dogs. Wisner Park is back, but this time it's better.

Next essay: Oak Street, where we had our "staycations" when we lived by Wisner, and where, in September, we relocated. My front door is three hundred and twenty-eight feet from the front door of the Oak Street Cafe. The piano player knows my face. The owner goes to mass with my friends. Three doors down there's a wonderful independent bookstore, Blue Cypress Books, where I found a copy of Rose's book and traded in a Foer for it.

These are my neighborhoods, Rose. You took me from adolescence to adulthood in less than ten pages. I cried at all times in this book, but when it hit me that you'd been following me around, Rose, from rebuilding in the 9th Ward to wandering down to the river at the dog levee, and then right onto my front lawn, it hit with the same force as it did five years ago: my city was hurt.

And then: Let us continue to rebuild.

Rose told the story of the city I love, of my home-away-from-home-turned-home, and he did it in a way that broke your heart but let you know: Yes, this place is reborn. Let's make it new. Let's call people back home.
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Quotes A. Gamble Liked

“He's got that New Orleans thing crawling all over him, that good stuff, that We Are the Champions, to hell with the rest and I'll just start over kind of attitude.”
Chris Rose, 1 Dead in Attic: Post-Katrina Stories

“Everybody here has a story. New Orleans was always a place where people talked too much even if they had nothing to say.

Now everyone's got something to say.”
Chris Rose, 1 Dead in Attic: Post-Katrina Stories

“To be engaged in some small way in the revival of one of the great cities of the world is to live a meaningful existence by default.”
Chris Rose, 1 Dead in Attic: Post-Katrina Stories


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